Flood Map Modernization

This page contains information on flood map modernization for the City of Lawrence, Kansas.


National Initiative
Map Modernization, an Important Nationwide Initiative
In the United States and in Kansas, flooding is the number one natural disaster. To identify flood hazards, the risks they pose to people and property, and the regulatory boundaries of floodplains, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) develops flood hazard maps, officially known as Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs).

Outdated Maps
Why the City of Lawrence Flood Maps Need Updating
The City’s current flood hazard data dates back to November 7, 2001 and is out of date. Drainage patterns have changed dramatically due to land use, surface erosion, and other natural forces. As a result, the likelihood of riverine flooding in some areas has increased significantly. Moreover, the technology used to estimate risk has been much improved. Up-to-date maps will much more accurately represent the risk of flooding; they are an important tool in the effort to protect lives and properties in Douglas County.

Updating Effort
Map Modernization Efforts for the City of Lawrence
The City of Lawrence is part of The Douglas County Flood Map Modernization project, which is a comprehensive effort to remap County flood risks using the latest flood modeling and digital mapping technologies. FEMA has produced preliminary Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps and Flood Insurance Study report in Countywide Format, showing the flood hazard information for the entire geographic area of the county, including both incorporated and unincorporated areas. The new digital flood maps will provide detailed, property-specific flood risk data to guide construction and flood insurance decisions. With the release of the preliminary DFIRMs and FIS report, Douglas County residents and business owners will have up-to-date, reliable, internet-accessible data about the flood hazards they face. The new countywide format will replace and combine the existing flood hazard maps for:
  • Douglas County, Unincorporated Areas
  • City of Lawrence
  • City of Baldwin City
  • City of Lecompton
Modernization Milestones
  • Scoping meeting held: 10/16/2007
  • Maps went preliminary: 7/10/2009
  • 30 day comment period began: 7/10/2009
  • Letter of Final Determination sent: 2/5/2010
  • Maps are going effective: 8/5/2010

Quick Reference Materials

Flood Map Modernization: Questions and Answers

Below is a list of questions and answers regarding the Flood Map Modernization (Map Mod) program:
Why Modernize?
Map Modernization is responding to National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requirements and feedback provided by Federal, State, and local Program stakeholders.
  • Flood hazard conditions are dynamic, and many NFIP maps may not reflect recent development and/or natural changes in the environment.
  • Updated NFIP maps can take advantage of revised data and improved technologies for identifying flood hazards.
  • Up-to-date maps support a flood insurance program that is more closely aligned with actual risk, encourage wise community-based floodplain management, and improve citizens' flood hazard awareness.
  • Local communities and various stakeholders desired more timely updates of flood maps and easier access to the flood hazard data used to create the maps.
  • Map Modernization is a cornerstone for helping community officials and citizens be better prepared for flood-related disasters.
What's Different?
Flood Map Modernization uses state-of-the-art technology to increase the quality, reliability, and availability of flood hazard maps and data.
  • Advanced engineering streamlines studies/mapping projects and improves results.
  • Capturing interim data throughout the study/mapping project process enables access to mapping products earlier in the process.
  • Refined standards result in improved data quality.
  • Flood maps are delivered in an industry-standard Geographic Information System format, which allows users to view information in a graphical format and add or remove layers of data according to their needs.
  • Spatial visualization makes it easier to view and analyze the information.
  • The FEMA Mapping Information Platform (MIP) gives stakeholders improved access to flood hazard data through the Web; flood maps and data may be accessed online via the MIP during the study/mapping project process as data become available.
  • The MIP promotes data sharing with mapping partners, improves interoperability with existing data sources, and makes flood map updates quicker and cheaper.
Who Will Make it Happen?
Map Modernization is a collaborative process and a new way of doing business, cutting across all layers of government and other organizations.
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) data are shared with other Federal agencies.
  • FEMA partnerships with State, regional, and local stakeholders allows Partners to choose their level of involvement in mapping tasks such as collecting, updating, and adopting flood data.
  • Fostering collaboration with Federal, State, and local partners, Map Modernization will help improve and maintain the quality of the flood hazard data produced for the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • The FEMA-contracted National Service Provider, known as the Mapping On Demand Team, is assisting FEMA with improving consistency throughout the Nation and streamlining the goals of Map Modernization through innovation and partnerships.
  • In collaboration with mapping partners and other stakeholders, FEMA has developed a 5-year plan called the Multi-Year Flood Hazard Identification Plan (MHIP) for updating the Nation's flood hazard data.
How Will it Help?
Map Modernization provides more accurate and up-to-date flood hazard information and enhances community officials' and citizens' decision-making and their ability to manage risks and other issues locally.
  • New data reflecting current flood hazard conditions enables citizens to more reliably assess their flood risk and take appropriate action to mitigate (i.e., reduce their physical and financial vulnerability to flooding).
  • The more accurate risk information that will result from Map Modernization will help local citizens choose the appropriate amount of flood insurance to purchase.
  • Map Modernization provides a more comprehensive approach to economic development, mitigation planning, and emergency response.
  • Communities will be more effective in managing flood risks, land use, water resources, disaster recovery, and other responsibilities.
  • Communities will be empowered to update maps and data as changes occur.
  • Goals and outcomes will be aligned among mapping partners.
  • The Mapping Information Platform supports integration of multi-hazard data and provides a broader view of total risk.
Who Benefits?
Map Modernization touches a broad array of National Flood Insurance Program stakeholders who will see different benefits, including the following:
  • Community planners and local officials gain an improve understanding of the flood hazards and risks that affect their community.
  • Builders and developers have detailed information for making decisions on where to build safely and how construction can affect flood hazards.
  • Insurance agents and companies, real estate agents and companies, and lending institutions have one-stop access to flood map updates and upcoming changes.
  • Homeowners and business owners are able to make more informed decisions about their current flood risks.
Contact Information
  • Planning and Development Services
  • (785) 832-3150